The first SoundOn Sessions event has taken place at The Pioneer Club in St. Albans, and it was certainly one to remember.
The result of a brand new artist-focused partnership between SoundOn and Headliner Spaces, SoundOn Sessions are music showcases which will champion the most promising emerging talent on the market, hosted at one of the most exciting and historic grassroots venues in the UK.
For those who may not be aware, SoundOn is an all-in-one platform for global music distribution and TikTok music marketing. It allows artists to distribute their music on TikTok and all major streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and more, while maintaining 100% ownership and receiving artist-friendly royalties without administration fees. Furthermore, SoundOn offers unique promotion features that help artists promote their new releases with TikTok's creator marketing, expanding their reach to a larger audience.
This debut SoundOn Session also gave a serious nod to the MOBO UnSung initiative - a relatively new talent competition, spearheaded by SoundOn and TikTok, which provides up-and-coming UK artists new musical opportunities. South London rapper, Kaniva, is part of the MOBO UnSung Class Of 2023, and his performance this evening was one of the highlights.
Kaniva has been gaining momentum with his hard-hitting punchlines, audacious attitude, and ability to paint a vivid image with his storytelling in regards to issues with homelessness and mental health. He also took to the MainStage at Strawberries & Creem Festival last year.
During his set, it was incredible how much Kaniva shared about his personal life and the demons he’s faced; and in between songs the fact that he almost quit music entirely. Thank goodness he didn’t, as these lyrics about his struggles with fatherhood, pursuing his passion, and his ups and downs growing up in South London truly captivated the crowd.
And what about the man behind the music?
"I'm an artist, songwriter, and lazy producer from South London," he told Headliner, with a big smile. "I started making music when I was nine. I continued through school, got really popular in my area, and now I’m doing pretty well and I get millions of streams. I’ve also toured a bit, so yeah, it’s all good.
"Getting a MOBO award is one of my biggest dreams, so to be noticed by the people that run it was a big achievement; I think my family thinks I’m doing well now! [laughs] MOBO UnSung is a great programme to be on, I’m having loads of fun. It’s taking me a bit out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing.”
On the importance of grassroots venues and support from SoundOn, Kaniva shared that it’s an essential part of the process of honing one’s craft:
“Venues like The Pioneer Club are really important in terms of grassroots venues when you’re making music, because you’ve got to do these ones before you get to Glastonbury or Wireless. If I wasn’t doing these kinds of events, I wouldn't have the experience. A lot of artists these days make great music, but they can’t perform – and you need both. Everyone can listen to music in their ears, but the live experience is a whole other way to engage with the fans."